Can poverty status explain obesity in developing countries? Evidence from Ghana

Wisdom Dogbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between socioeconomic status and obesity remains inconclusive in both developed and developing countries. In Ghana, the rate of reduction in poverty continues to decline as the gap in poverty between urban and rural areas increases. However, the impact of such an economic inequality on body weights has not yet been studied. Using the Ghana Living Standard Survey 2017 (GLSS7) data from the Ghana Statistical Service, I study the link between poverty and body weights in Ghana. The GLSS7 collects detailed information from households, including their socioeconomic characteristics, health, access to financial services, and asset ownership. Due to the endogeneity between poverty status (proxy for income) and obesity, a recursive bivariate probit model is used to estimate the impact of poverty on participants' body weight measured by body mass index. The results suggest a strong negative relationship between poverty and overweight/obesity (p <.00) in the univariate probit model. Marital status, ethnicity, urbanization, and employment types are found to be factors that significantly influence weight status and poverty status. Obesity is also found to be a condition among household heads of higher socioeconomic status in Ghana. [EconLit Citations: C3, D12, D91, I1].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Early online date18 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2021


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